A Compass for Professionals in the Chinese Beauty Industry
Lan Vu, Founder & CEO of BeautyStreams
I met Joe at the lunch meeting hosted by Wei (founder of Wei Beauty) on November 11, 2019. We had a very constructive conversation. Half a year later, Joe and I decided to work together, with BeautyStreams having him as Global Partner dedicating to China’s beauty market.
Why did we reach the agreement so quickly? There are three reasons. First of all, both of us have experience in and enthusiasm for the beauty industry. Secondly, Joe used to work for Gartner and what Garner offers to IT industry is very close to what BeautyStreams does to beauty industry. Joe deeply knows the value and potential of our insights-based services to clients. Last but not least, Joe and I share an Asian cultural background as well as a dream that is to help Asian especially Chinese beauty companies achieve original innovation and go global successfully.
I was amazed when Joe told me that during the pandemic he had finished a book on insights for professionals in beauty industry. In this thought-provoking book Joe has identified the root cause of high failure rates of product innovation and huge waste of marketing campaigns – the deadly sins commonly found in the beauty industry as well as other consumer packaged goods industries. What is the root cause? It is lack of insights into the needs and wants of customers (consumers). Joe has skillfully and successfully incorporated Clayton Christensen’s theory of “Job to be Done (JTBD)” and Anthony Ulwick’s methodology of “Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI)” into the practices of the beauty industry. Joe’s elaborations on insights-based strategy formulation, insights-based product development, insights-based marketing communications and brand building are the most valuable parts of the book, providing highly-actionable advices to beauty companies competing a rapidly changing business environment, especially after the crisis of Covid-19.
I am pleased to see that Joe has embraced technology trends such as artificial intelligence, big data, business analytics and Martech. So has BeautyStreams. We take wide-reaching, long-term societal macrotrends and develop them into concrete innovation ideas for specific beauty sectors. I am equally pleased to see that Joe also emphasizes the importance of small data, which is still relevant and valuable in the era of big data because the former tries to be closer to causations (in Christensen’s words, “what caused what to happen”) and the latter is satisfied with correlations. Therefore, at BeautyStreams, we work with more than 200 experts in the areas of beauty, biotech, arts, anthropology, design, geo-politics, technology, retail, fashion and textile, etc., providing unmatchable insights, inspiration and intelligence for our clients worldwide.
Another beauty of Joe’s book is the emphasis on leadership, values, and corporate culture that make business processes centered around the experiences of customers (consumers), helping them get their jobs done better or cheaper or better and cheaper at the same time. I strongly believe that all professionals in the beauty industry can benefit from reading Joe’s book, but it will certainly benefit high-level executives the most. It will change the way they feel, think and act. Many executives on our clients’ side feel that BeautyStreams is like a compass and a beacon for the global beauty industry. And I would like to characterize Joe’s book as the same thing for the Chinese beauty industry.
As any other industries, the global beauty industry is being re-engineered “from a universe of vertically integrated corporations run by command-and-control management systems to one of highly-specialized and disaggregated enterprises interoperating collaboratively to create global value chain (Geoffrey Moore)”. In a transition period like this, collaboration has never been more important. That’s why I decided to celebrate BeautyStreams’ 10th anniversary by creating the OpenStreams Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and global collaboration in the global beauty sector. I hope that by openly sharing ideas, perspectives, and priorities, companies and people can create an ongoing movement towards positive change and collaboration. Today’s crisis underlines just how interconnected we are throughout the world. The insight here is that we are entering a new era where borderless collaboration and a holistic industry approach are more vital than ever.
To my knowledge, there are few people that understand Chinese beauty industry’s challenges and opportunities more profoundly than Joe. Reading Joe’s book on insights into customers’ needs gives you clear advantage to survive, if not thrive, in the fiercely competitive Chinese beauty market.
Again, helping Chinese beauty companies achieve original innovation and successfully go global as C-Beauty is a dream shared by Joe and me. May it come true in the near future!